Portrait of Stuart Kauffman

Stuart Kauffman

Doctor, Theoretical Biologist, and Complex Systems Researcher
Born: September 28, 1939

Stuart Alan Kauffman is an American medical doctor, theoretical biologist, and complex systems researcher who studies the origin of life on Earth. He was a professor at the University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Calgary. He is currently emeritus professor of biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania and affiliate faculty at the Institute for Systems Biology. He has a number of awards including a MacArthur Fellowship and a Wiener Medal.

He is best known for arguing that the complexity of biological systems and organisms might result as much from self-organization and far-from-equilibrium dynamics as from Darwinian natural selection, as discussed in his book Origins of Order. He also proposed the self-organized emergence of collectively autocatalytic sets of polymers, specifically peptides, for the origin of molecular reproduction, which have found experimental support.


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